Monday, December 21, 2009

Consider the Snow Shovel

By Steve Weddle

I’m not a light sleeper, so when my wife starts talking about murder weapons, I pay attention.

“Consider the snow shovel,” she says when I come in from the fourth or fifth time digging out us or a neighbor. I’m resting between another almost-heart-attack. She was out earlier digging, and neither of us is terribly happy about it. Twenty-nine inches of snow can kinda mess you up your weekend.

The Snowpocalypse has me tired, sorta blurry in the eyes and weary. Might be where they got the word “bleary” from. If that’s a word. I don’t know from words much anymore. The snow comes down quicker than we can dig it away. “Need to clear what we can,” my neighbor from Iowa says. “Easier to dig out seven or eight inches at a time.” There’s probably one of those life lessons in there. It’ll come to me after a nap.

“Snow shovel?” I ask my wife as I’m clomping snow all over the kitchen floor.

“’Consider the Lobster’? That DFW essay?”

“No. The snow shovel.”

“OK. Been with a snow shovel all weekend. Consider it considered. Wake me for the game.”

“For your blog,” she says. “Consider the snow shovel.”

“Right,” I say. “Snow shovel.” My boot laces are frozen. I can’t undo them. My fingers, stuck for hours getting damp and cold under my three dollar gloves, are just little pink sticks at this point. I have to get these boots off. I’m trying to think of when the burning in the feet started. Was it burning? How can I tell when it goes from cold to burning? The numb-to-the-touch feeling. Is that a feeling? I keep thinking what I learned in class, “I’m from the Red Cross. I know what to do. Can I help?” I move my feet around in the boots. It’s not really a problem. Just freaking out because I can’t get these sonsuvbitching bootlaces undone. If it’s not frostbite, I wonder what it is when you lose the ability to swear. “Sonsuvbitching bootlaces”? I’m not making any sense.

The ice on the laces cracks off, shards on the floor. Boots off. Socks peel off. Towel. Feet dry. Warm. New socks. Coffee. OK. Now. Snow shovel.

“Consider the snow shovel?” I say when I’m back and brain is mostly working again.

“For the blog?”

“Yeah,” my wife says. “Like a murder weapon.”


“Like holiday murder weapons. Right? A list?”

“Oh, a list. Yes. Holidays. Weapons. List. Perfect topic for a blog. I can do bullet points.”

“That a joke?”

“Dunno,” I say. “Whatcha think?”

“Not so much, no. Start with the snow shovel.”

“Right,” I say, feeling the weight of the coffee cup, the one a student stole for me from Chimes in Baton Rouge. Heavy at the bottom. Diner-style. A pop to the temple. “OK. I got ya. Like that big heavy metal stocking hanger thing one of the kids pulled off the mantel that year and got whacked in the head. That would be a great way to kill someone.”

“Um, sweetie. Don’t mention that.”

“How come?” I say.

“Social services.”

“Oh, yeah. OK. What else?”

“You tell me, writer boy.”

“Strangled with tree lights.”

“Sweet. What else?” she asks, pulling out one of those Ginsu-knockoffs to slice another piece of pumpkin bread. “How about stabbed through the eye with an icicle?”

“Nice one. Somebody used ice bullets in a book.” I look around the house.

“Hey, the star on top of the tree? Take one of those points into the Adam’s Apple?”

“Excellent,” she says, walking down the hall to the library, checking our decorations. “And the tree stand? Or a frozen fruit cake someone left on the porch overnight? “

“Hey, remember that time I nearly died after I drank three-fourths of a gallon of egg nog?”

“Yeah, sweetie,” she says, twisting some fake garland in her hands, testing its tensile strength. “That would be great if you could find a victim who is lactose intolerant and has no self-control.”

“Right.” Probably more of a cozy killer, egg nog. “Snow blower. The blade of a sled. Dang, there’s some violent stuff around these holidays.”

“Glass ornaments, too.”

“I bet the blog readers could think of another hundred. I’ll ask them,” I say.

“Cool. Oh, and sweetie?”

“Yeah, babe?”

“Be sure to tell them Merry Christmas and happy holidays and all.”

“You bet.”

“Oh, and the candles in the window, of course,” she says. “The flame top is small but really strong. Right through someone’s ear. Pop.”

“Merry Christmas, babe.”

“Merry Christmas, sweetie.”


pattinase (abbott) said...

A narrow chimney for a fat Santa. Nice story.

Chuck said...

I recently went with the snow shovel as a murder weapon.


Er, for a book.

Anyway. We used to raise whitetail deer and elk, and my father once mused on using them as a weapon -- he often had a few in the truck.

That musing was right around the holidays, if I remember correctly.

Santa could probably gut a dude with reindeer antlers.

-- c.

Naomi Johnson said...

What, no nutcracker?? Oh, yeah, guess that's more your instrument of torture than murder weapon, eh?

Anonymous said...

Hell, I just bought the nephew a tripod-mounted, belt-fed, laser-sighted 180 round per minute Nerf weapon. Replace those foam darts with the bar-room variety and you got yourself a Merry My Lai Massacre right there in front of the tree.


Chris said...

Remember when "nerf" was just a name for a football you had to keep picked up because if you didn't the dog would chew it up? Now it could mean any number of things.

I'm all about the ice axe for my winter death dealing. Either that or a long icicle.

Steve Weddle said...

Patti: I could see something with a fireplace and chimney really working out well. Great for hiding and, uh, removing a body?

Chuck: Antlers would be great, kinda like some Klingon weapon.

Naomi: A nutcracker used as a knuckle-cracker could work, right?

Dan: Dang. Did you need some 10-day waiting period to get that?

Steve Weddle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Weddle said...

Chris: Icicle would be great, yeah. Don't get many ice axes, but that has to work, too. I wonder about the bag of goodies the ice mountain climbers use.

John McFetridge said...

I was going to make a joke about you shovelling and us not having any snow at all here in Toronto, but I know that's the kind of thing that'll come back and bite me in the ass - in about three days, it looks like.

Christina Davis said...

I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable talking about holiday decorations as murder weapons. This just doesn't seem right.

However, the scene in the movie Fargo comes to mind with the wood I realize that's not a holiday decoration but I was thinking of snow shovels which lead to snow which lead to Fargo.

But now I really feel uncomforatble so I'm signing off.

Merry Christmas!